One of my favorite Australian treats is the Cherry Ripe bar. It's a combination of cherries and coconut covered in dark chocolate. I know it sounds kind of odd but I really enjoy it and I think they're quite popular down there. Before I left for this last trip, I knew I wanted to bring back some extra Cherry Ripes to use for some baking when I got back.
Yesterday, I made my first attempt at some Cherry Ripe-esque cupcakes to take over to a friend's place. I started off with my go-to Martha Stewart chocolate cupcakes. I think my favorite things about this particular recipe are that you only end up with 12 cupcakes and it only uses 3 tablespoons of butter for the entire recipe. I thought adding some cherries and coconut to the chocolate batter would be sufficient to end up with the flavor that I was looking for.
I topped the cupcakes with a slightly modified version of this frosting. I ended up cutting the recipe in half and had more than enough for a dozen cupccakes. It looked great until I tried to add the chocolate. I started with about 1/3 cup of chocolate chips that I melted in the microwave. The result was pretty pale and not very chocolatey. Then I added a few tablespoons of cocoa powder to up the chocolate flavor. That made the frosting too thick so I ended up adding a little more butter and about a tablespoon of milk. I still had trouble getting the frosting to stick to the actual cupcakes, but I was running late at that point and I gave up. In the end, they looked pretty good though the frosting was a bit pale. A wedge of Cherry Ripe on top was the finishing touch.
The finished product was okay. We couldn't really taste the cherry or the coconut. The frosting had a good consistency but, to me, it mostly tasted like butter. One taster didn't think that was such a bad thing : ) I had considered just putting a bundle of cherry and coconut in the middle instead of mixing it through the batter. I think that's what I'll try next time. Another taster suggested using coconut milk in the batter to enhance the coconut flavor. Alternatively, I read a post where the baker made coconut cupcakes, added the cherries, and topped with chocolate frosting. I think that could be amazing. Especially with the frosting from the salted caramel cupcakes I've posted about before. Mmm...